Guys get hurt in this numbers racket of ours, and when hurt guys play on losing teams, September can be the cruelest month. With all that in mind, say hello – and possibly say goodbye – to Grady Sizemore(notes).
Sizemore has been playing with an inflamed lining in his elbow joint since spring training, which largely explains his lost season. No one disputes that he needs surgery, it's just a matter of when the Indians decide enough is enough. "With Grady, we're not 100 percent sure what we're going to do," Eric Wedge told the Cleveland Plain Dealer on Tuesday. "There's still a chance we could shut him down early."
Sizemore's output is depressed across the board; the counting stats took a hit from his month on the disabled list, of course, but he's also on pace to have his worst year in the slash numbers (.247/.341/.447). Again, this is all the elbow talking. Assuming Sizemore looks hale next spring, there's no reason not to spend a first-round pick on an outfielder who turns 28 in April.
The Indians have plenty of outfielders around to sub for Sizemore if and when the time comes. Well-regarded prospect Michael Brantley arrived Tuesday and got the start in left (2-for-4, batting ninth), with fellow prospect Matt LaPorta(notes) manning right (1-for-4, two whiffs). Trevor Crowe(notes) is no longer a hot commodity, perhaps, but he's an option in center field when he comes off the DL next week. Like most losing clubs, the Indians will essentially turn the final month of the year into open auditions, getting an early jump on 2010's spring training.
• It wasn't a fun night for injury news and Hanley Ramirez(notes) leads off the NL portion of it. He left Tuesday's game with a tight hamstring, apparently suffered while he tried to make a diving stop in the field. He's also in the midst of an 0-for-15 stretch at the plate, not that a sample that small holds any signifcance. Call Ramirez day-to-day for now "I'm going to call it a cramp – severe cramping on his hamstring," Fredi Gonzalez told the team's official site. "Maybe it was just the length of the rain delay or the length of being out there. He's got some treatment. Hopefully he comes in [Wednesday] and says it's OK."
• Adam Jones(notes) can't catch a break these days. A sore back dogged him at the end of August and now he's got an ankle injury to worry about, suffered while sliding Tuesday night. MASN is reporting that Jones is likely to be out "a while" and with Baltimore nowhere close to playoff contention, there's no guarantee we'll see the emerging star again this year.
• Michael Young's(notes) comeback year has been a little under the radar – he's spiked his OPS 163 points and is on pace for a career best in homers – but put everything on hold for now. He tweaked his left hamstring Tuesday and left the field in obvious discomfort. He'll have an MRI Wednesday.
• Tim Hudson's(notes) return Tuesday from elbow surgery didn't seem to have roto players all that excited, but I'll admit he looked better than I expected (5.1 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 5 K); most of his trouble was in the first inning and that's somewhat excusable given that the game was delayed three hours by rain. You're invited to scout along at home; here's some video to watch and evaluate. Hudson was allowed to throw 82 pitches here and he'll probably be allowed to go past that number when he faces the Reds on the weekend. Streamers of the world, unite.
• Cole Hamels(notes) insisted last week that he was on the comeback trail and he backed up his words Tuesday with a dominant effort against the Giants (CG, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 9 K). Hamels threw 80 of his 118 pitches for strikes and even though the Phils had a scant 1-0 lead (Jonathan Sanchez(notes) worked six sharp innings on the other side), Brad Lidge(notes) wasn't summoned into the game. "I really tried not to stress myself out and go out and not try to be too good," Hamels said, by way of explanation. "All I can do is throw strokes and let the team behind me take care of it." The comebacking lefty has a good shot at another win this weekend, working at Houston on Sunday.
Thursday's Streaming Guide: We've got 10 games on the schedule and don't forget the interleague make-up game between the Chicago clubs. … Jon Garland(notes) probably is a fairly safe go in Los Angeles, on normal rest, against his former Arizona mates and Billy Buckner(notes). … Brett Tomko(notes) has looked pretty solid thus far, no denying that, and he'll get an Oakland start against the Mariners, the AL's worst offense. … Fausto Carmona(notes) had three straight useful turns before a hiccup last time out, and I'll give him a loose recommendation at Detroit, in part because the Indians should knock Nate Robertson(notes) around. … John Smoltz(notes) against Milwaukee is a little too obvious, but we'll hold your hand if you need it. Your success is our reward.
Speed Round: David Wright(notes) made it back for the Mets at Colorado, going 1-for-3 with a walk and two strikeouts. … Carlos Gonzalez(notes) continues to justify the love, swiping a base and knocking a ball out of the park. … If you saw Fernando Rodney(notes) going 30-for-31 on save chances this year, you're a better man that I am. … Joakim Soria(notes) worked hard for his save, putting away the final six outs in Oakland. … Does Carlos Pena(notes) homer every day or does it just seem that way? He clubbed 12 round trippers in August and give him one for September. … Brandon Phillips(notes) might not have a bad wrist after all; he admitted Tuesday that he didn't know "fractured" and "broken" meant the same thing. Your punchlines await in the comments.